• Gift Guide | Experiences Rather Than Things

    I must confess, at 45 I’m learning how to be a better friend.  This isn’t something that’s easy for me to say, it’s actually a bit embarrassing.  The list as to why I’ve been this way is long (and for another post) but good news!  I’m working on it daily and what’s most amazing is that my soul has benefitted from the process.  That missing piece of my heart that I’ve always wondered about has been filled.  Does this even make sense?!

    So, I’ve been thinking about how to better connect with friends and family over the holidays and I think for me it will be more about experiences than material gifts.  Don’t miss understand, a material gift is lovely and I’m not opposed it them.  It’s just with the  realization that conversation, connection and bonding with others is so rewarding I think having experiences is my priority.

    So, here are four simple suggestions but remember that just spending time together is always the best gift.

    Tea List-5Afternoon Tea at Tea List in Davis is one of my most favorite things to do with a friend.  It’s an entire experience; the decor, small bistro tables, hot tea and delicious food.  Add the best conversation with a friend and you’ve created a wonderful day.  Afternoon Tea is $19.95 per person.


    I’ve never gone on a hot air balloon ride but fellow Woodland Blogger Stacy Brown has and she blogged about it here.  I’m not a big fan of heights but it looks so fun and it’s an experience you’ll always remember.  Yolo Ballooning Adventures rates begin at $195/person

    Tickets to the Woodland Opera House is a new thing for me.  It’s become a ritual for my mother in law and me, to spend a Sunday afternoon watching a play.  I’ve laughed, watched her laugh, cried and have really enjoyed every performance.  Individual tickets are $25 for reserved seating and they also have options for season tickets and a flex pass.


    A crafting class, especially one by our very own locals, is something special.  Creating art and learning a new skill with others is lasting.  I’ve taken two of Emily Murphey Design hand lettering classes; one with friends and one with my sister.  For her it’s not just about the art, it’s an entire experience.  Her ability to create an environment and setting that is personal is a highlight of the class. Another local class I’ve been eyeing is the Full Belly Farm Floral Workshops.  Pricing varies depending on class $45 and up.

    I’d love to know what you do with your friends and family to enhance your time with them?  Leave a comment below and share!

    Woodland Opera House and Emily Murphey Design photos courtesy of their sites (links above)

  • What’s Your Personality?

    A few years ago I came across the website 16 Personalities and became obsessed with learning about my own, INFJ – the Advocate.  It’s a bit eerie how accurate the results are.  For instance, I became offended when I read I get easily offended!  But it’s true, I’m very sensitive and become defensive when I feel something isn’t “fair” or if I feel my motives come into question.  For me, I think it boils down to intention and integrity.  They are qualities that as I age have become very important to me and something I’ve worked really hard to ensure they are in the forefront of my mind on the daily.

    So, when something I’m working on or someone I’m working with receives resistance or a harsh opposing view I become…let’s just say, passionate.  Some may say I’m hot-headed, you know “there goes that Scorpio!”, but really it is because I FEEL, to the core, passionate about the subject.  It may have caused an issue or two for me but once I understood this part of me I’ve recognized it much more quickly than before.  So, it’s getting better but it is something that’s there and rears its head once in a while.

    My family also took the test, here’s their personalities types:

    • My son Dylan and I have almost the same personality with the only difference being he is an extrovert.  He’s ENFJ -the Protagonist, although if you ask me he can be quiet the antagonist too 🙂 
    • Killion, my daughter, is EFSP, the Entertainer.  She definitely brings life to the house and when she’s away at school there is a big void in the house.
    • Jon is ESTJ, the Executive.  His patience with me is next level, sometimes I can’t deal with myself!  He’s orderly, I’m a mess.  He’s organized, me…not so much.

    Have you ever taken a personality test?  What do you think about having your family take the quiz before your next holiday gathering?  You never know, you might find out why your sister is so crazy!  (My sister isn’t crazy, btw <3)

    Here is the link to the 16 Personalities test.  I’d love to know what your personality is and whether you think it’s accurate.  Leave a comment below!

    Here are a few interesting articles on personality:

    Can a personality change over time?

    Does it affect your health?

    Use of tests in the hiring process.

    Header Photo: Adobe Stock

  • High School Love Letters

    Today Jon and I are celebrating our 30th dating anniversary!

    The best gift Jon ever gave me is a shoe box filled with memorabilia from our first few years of dating.  He saved over 73 letters I wrote to him, my first concert ticket stub, movie tickets, pictures and cards.  We re-read the first ten I wrote, which spanned just over a week’s time, and laughed so hard.  The things on my mind and the words I used, totally 80’s.

    Here are some of these keepsakes.

    First letter I wrote after our first date, 11/30/1987.  Ps. Tina’s middle name is Ramona

    Hall Pass to get me out of class the next day <3
    IMG_0418.JPG

    My first ever concert | Depeche Mode
    Depeche 1988

    His Senior Night photo, June 1988
    1988 Senior Night

    A clip from Seventeen about Long Distance Relationships I sent him before he left for college.
    He’s a bit of a romantic, huh?

  • A new blog from Woodland

    Inspiration comes from many different areas of our lives.  Whether it be our friends, the space we live in, what we do for a living, or who we follow on social media.  What inspires us is usually specific to us, a common thread with others for sure, but the basis comes from a yearning within.  For me, inspiration for what I do comes from the people around me and my want to share.  Funny enough, I’m very private but I’ve learned (slowly) from those around me that we all have something to say, to share, and so that’s what I’ll be doing.

    My family (two young adult children and my husband) and I are based in Woodland, California.  It’s an agricultural town in Northern California in-between San Francisco and South Lake Tahoe, just west of Sacramento.  We were all born and raised in the area and find Woodland to be just the right speed for our current lives.  It’s the perfect mix of being close enough to big cities but local enough that you have a corner drug store (literally its name) and you can walk from one end of Main Street to the other in less than 10 minutes.  A New Yorker (Queens to be exact) friend recently said, “Main Street looks like it’s out of a Hallmark Christmas movie!”  YES!, yes it does <3

    If you know me, then you likely know I’m a blogger for  VisitWoodland.com.  Can you see a theme here, I really like my town!  I’ve met so many people through my work with Visit Woodland that I’ve extrapolated a characteristic theme from these folks;  Hard workers, creators, risk takers, and a willingness to be helpers.  These qualities are what I’ve felt from the people I’ve met.  They are also the inspiration for this blog and really, for the life I try to live.  So, Cross & Elm, at its core, is about sharing what I’ve learned, personally, from those in Woodland, the surrounding areas and through my travels.

    I mentioned we are based in Woodland, but I also split my time between here and Spokane, Washington where my husband works.  Spokane has also played a huge role in why I created Cross & Elm.  When we made the move I scoured Instagram for Spokane area bloggers. I figured they would be able to help direct me on where to shop, where to get the best coffee, and give me a general feel for the area.  And it was true, there is no shortage of information. I found such a huge variety of subjects and experiences from various accounts that I realized there is a space for me in this digital world, I just have to take the risk and put myself out there.

    So, here goes…

    Keeping all this inspiration in mind, Cross & Elm’s focus is simple; sharing delicious recipes (from my and friend’s kitchens), learning from subject matter experts on health & wellness and relationship related issues, chatting about work and the things I’m passionate about, and much more.  With every post, I want to walk away from the writing I’ve completed and have learned something new, whether small or big.  So, my sharing will be thoughtful and meaningful to me and I hope you find value as well.

    You can reach me here: Email & Phone

    If you’d like to follow along and receive a weekly recap, in your inbox, of the blog posts I’ve published for the current week just fill out the form to the right.  Your email will never be shared with anyone and is secured by MailChimp.

    Oh, the name of the blog, Cross & Elm?  It’s the corner we live on and it’s a bit of an inspiration for me too.